Preparing for a Title IX Hearing
Facing a Title IX hearing can be an overwhelming and challenging experience for survivors of campus sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. However, with the right preparation and knowledge, you can navigate the process more confidently.
At our firm, we have achieved an 80% success rate in holding perpetrators accountable in campus hearings, thanks in part to one of our unique preparation activities. Specifically, we prepare all our clients to raise objections during the proceedings should anything occur counter to their federal rights and/or campus policy and procedures. Below, we will share valuable tips on how to prepare for a Title IX hearing, specifically focusing on raising objections to help protect your rights and ensure a fair process.
It is crucial to recognize that survivors often face inappropriate questions during campus hearings and must assert their rights. Unlike courtrooms, Title IX hearings do not allow advisors to act like attorneys and raise objections on your behalf. So, to effectively address such issues when they arise, it is essential for survivors to pre-prepare hearing objections by thoroughly reviewing campus policies, procedures, and relevant regulations under Title IX and the Clery Act. By crafting short and simple responses in advance, survivors can read them during the hearing to assert their rights without hesitation and prompt the hearing officer to uphold their responsibilities by preventing offensive and unlawful questions or actions from continuing.
One common issue survivors encounter during Title IX hearings are being asked about their sexual history with individuals other than the accused. It is important to note that such inquiries are not only inappropriate but also a violation of Title IX regulations 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(6)(i) and 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(6)(ii). To effectively object, survivors can use a pre-prepared response like the following: “I object to this unlawful and irrelevant question that violates my rights under Title IX, which prohibits you from asking about my sexual history.” If there is also a portion of the campus policies that prohibit it as well, survivor can cite to that page and read the policy to the panel. By providing this concise and assertive response, survivors establishnot only their rights but also appropriate boundaries. This approach ensures that the hearing remains focused on the appropriate issues while protecting the survivor’s rights.
Apart from objection handling, it is essential to undertake thorough preparation to maximize your chances of a successful outcome in a Title IX hearing. Here are some key strategies to consider:
- Familiarize Yourself with Campus Policies: Study your institution’s Title IX policies and procedures to gain a comprehensive understanding of your rights, the investigation process, and the hearing structure.
- Seek Professional Guidance: Consider consulting with an attorney or an experienced Title IX advocate. Their expertise and guidance can prove invaluable in preparing your case and navigating the hearing process effectively.
- Practice Self-Care and Emotional Support: Engage in self-care activities to manage stress and maintain your emotional well-being throughout the process. Reach out to supportive friends, family, or counselors who can provide emotional support during this challenging time.
Preparing for a Title IX hearing requires thorough knowledge of your rights and both the campus and federal regulations that govern the proceedings. By understanding the unique nature of these hearings, survivors can empower themselves to navigate the process with confidence and ensure a fair and just outcome. Remember, seeking professional guidance and support is crucial during this challenging time. By being prepared, assertive, and well-informed, survivors can stand up for their rights and contribute to a safer and more equitable campus environment.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of campus sexual violence and are seeking legal services, contact us for a free confidential intake.